SYRACUSE, N.Y. - New York's College Team is returning to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl for the second time in three years. The 2012 Syracuse Orange, which finished the season winning five of its last six games and won a share of the BIG EAST championship with a 5-2 league mark, will play a familiar opponent -- West Virginia -- in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl on December 29 in Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, NY (3:15 pm, ESPN). The Orange defeated Kansas State in the inaugural Pinstripe Bowl, 36-34, in 2010.
"On behalf of Syracuse University, the athletics department and our football program, we are honored to have been selected to participate in this prestigious Bowl game," said Syracuse Director of Athletics Dr. Daryl Gross. "What an honor to be invited to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl and once again be affiliated with the Yankee organization, which we consider the greatest sports franchise in history. We are so proud of head coach Doug Marrone, his staff and the team. We are honored and thrilled to represent in this fabulous bowl game in Yankee Stadium as co-Big East champions in football. I can't think of a better place to showcase New York's college team. This is a fabulous opportunity for our institution, as many alums live in the area and our fans can descend upon New York City for the holidays. We are looking forward to a great bowl week and an extraordinary game."
""We are excited to welcome back Syracuse University to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl," said Mark Holtzman, Yankees Executive Director of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. "Their victory in the inaugural New Era Pinstripe Bowl was an unforgettable experience for everyone involved. Their student-athletes, alumni and legion of loyal fans will once again get to take part in an exhilarating bowl week during the New York City holiday season."
Syracuse owns a 32-27 advantage in the series against West Virginia, which is one of Syracuse's oldest rivals. The Orange has won the last two meetings, inclding a 19-14 victory in Morgantown in 2010 and a 49-23 win in the Carrier Dome in 2011. The teams did not play in 2012 because West Virginia moved from the BIG EAST Conference to the Big 12 Conference in July 2012.
"We are thrilled to be invited to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl for the second time in three years," Marrone said. "It means a great deal to us to play a bowl game in Yankee Stadium where many of our alumni and fans will have the opportunity to share it with us. New York State is the foundation of our program. I am proud of this team for the way it fought through early-season adversity to win five of the last six games and win a share of the BIG EAST championship. It is great for our team, and particularly our seniors, to have the chance to play one more game. This senior class has given so much to our program on and off the field and will be great ambassadors for our program and University."
The 2012 Orange features an offense that ranks 21st nationally. Quarterback Ryan Nassib, a 2012 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete, ranks in the top 15 in the country in passing yards, completions and total offense per game. His Syracuse-record 3,619 passing yards is 10th in the nation. He holds every single-season and career passing record (except career TD passes) in Syracuse history, including most completions and yards. He also has 3,748 yards of total offense in 2012, another Orange season record. Receiver Alec Lemon holds the Syracuse records for receptions in a season (70) and career (199). Lemon (1,063 receiving yards) and running back Jerome Smith (1,019 rushing yards) are the second Syracuse duo to record more than 1,000 yards each in a season.
"We're very excited that the hard work of our student-athletes, Coach Marrone, and the entire SU football staff has been rewarded with a return visit the New Era Pinstripe Bowl," said Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. "In 2010, so many alumni and members of the SU family filled Yankee Stadium to cheer the Orange on to an exciting and memorable victory, and we all look forward to returning to the Big Apple and to the Pinstripe Bowl once again."
Syracuse has a 13-9-1 bowl record, including a 1-0 mark for third-year head coach Doug Marrone.
In 2010, running back Delone Carter earned New Era Pinstripe Bowl Most Valuable Player honors after rushing for a career-high 198 yards on 27 carries and scoring two touchdowns, while receiver Marcus Sales caught five passes for 172 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Ryan Nassib completed 13-of-21 passes for 239 yards and three touchdowns.
Syracuse has a rich football history in New York City and the metropolitan area. The Orange is 6-1 all-time at Yankee Stadium, including a 3-0 victory against Pittsburgh in 1923 in the first college football game ever played there. In addition, the Orange has played seven times at the Polo Grounds in New York City and has taken the field for games at Shea Stadium in Flushing, N.Y., and MetLife Stadium and Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.